A supportive and inclusive society in which all people have equal opportunity to live, thrive and enjoy the full benefits of belonging within their communities.
To support individuals with mental health and cognitive challenges to live well within their communities.
I have had the pleasure of being on Cota’s Board of Directors since 2014. Over the years, Cota has steadily evolved, keeping pace with changes in the health care environment, moving from strength to strength. Cota has launched new support programs (for example 220 Oak street), invested in its staff, achieved Accreditation with Exemplary Standing, celebrated it’s 45th anniversary with Inspiring Change Awards, all while providing excellent care and support day in and day out to our clients.
Today, Cota supports and provides services to more people than ever before, it is an active and trusted partner within the health care community, and it continues to innovate and take bold steps to reduce homelessness in Toronto.
I could not be more proud of Cota’s staff and leadership team for the work they do and what they’ve accomplished - it gives me great confidence in Cota’s future!
Carolyn Cornford (Board President, 2018)
Cota is pleased to share our 2018-19 Annual Report with you. This past year marked both our 45th anniversary and the mid-point of our 2016-19 Strategic Plan. As such, this report provides a brief retrospective look back at some of our recent accomplishments since 2016 and our plans to leap forward as we continue to inspire positive change through our work. At present, we are actively engaged in a number of service expansion and system transformation efforts. We remain eager to find new and innovative ways to improve service delivery to the people we support and to our community at large. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our existing partners and the many new partnerships we hope to form in this regard.
We are very thankful for the tremendous efforts that all of our staff, volunteers and students put forth every single day to ensure that Cota provides our services to the highest possible standards and to our many supporters in the community.
Paul Bruce (Chief Executive Officer, Cota)
expanding our reach
% of people served by population
% of people served by service type
% of supportive housing by population
INSPIRING POSITIVE CHANGE
IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE SUPPORT
SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
As we were gathering ideas for our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, we held a number of engagement sessions with Cota service users. Their input pointed to a desire for us to focus on the following areas of need/interest:
1. Enhancing access to good quality affordable and supportive housing. By “good quality” they meant a minimum standard of rooms with en-suite bathrooms or self-contained apartments
2. Improving access to food of enhanced nutritional value
3. Increasing opportunities for them to connect with other Cota service users in their local communities
In addition, we made commitments to (1) continue providing safe services, while ensuring a continued focus on the provision of safe services, and (2) enhanced client and family engagement within the organization.
The data that we are now able to gather through the introduction of the Ontario Perception of Care (OPOC) tool, the Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN) tool, our internal occurrence reporting system combined with the valuable advice and guidance provided by our new Client and Family Advisory Council has proven to be extremely helpful in identifying areas for continuous quality improvement.
50K+ meals served annually
Improved access to food and nutrition at Bailey House, Short-Term Residential Beds Program, and our ABI Adult Day Service
created a client & family advisory council
Enhanced service user engagement within the organization by supporting and coordinating the development of a Client & Family Advisory Council
conducted annual client safety analyses
Promoting client safety by conducting annual client safety prospective analyses and introducing risk prevention strategies
43 net new supportive housing units
Exceeded initial target of net-new supportive housing units to be brought on stream
successfully renovated bailey house
Bailey House now offers self-contained rooms with en-suite washrooms
focused efforts on group offerings
Focused efforts to foster greater sense of community amongst clients through the introduction of local group offerings and Wellness Recovery Action Plan sessions
implemented ontario perception of care tool (opoc)
Implemented the Ontario Perception of Care tool to gauge satisfaction with our services and monitor feedback to identify possible areas of improvement
implemented our first quality improvement plan (QIP) in 2018
The QIP identifies targeted areas for improvement within the domains of safety, effectiveness, client centeredness, timeliness, and efficiency and can be found on our website.
Focusing on Continuous Quality Improvement:
In the immediate future we will be following through with strategies to achieve the areas targeted for improvement within our existing 2018-19 QIP, which can be found on our website at: www.cotainspires.ca
In addition, we are beginning the process of reviewing OCAN, OPOC, our internal Occurrence Report data and health system data in order to identify possible areas for improvement within our next QIP, which we aim to produce in October 2019.
Acquiring and Developing Affordable/Supportive Housing Sites:
Given the present affordable housing crisis in Toronto and the critical role that a safe and affordable place to live plays as a social determinant of health, Cota will now begin focusing on creation of net new affordable and supportive housing opportunities through site acquisitions and new housing developments.
In doing so, we hope to create net new capacity to offer to the community, secure a new site for our existing Short-Term Residential Beds Program in Scarborough and identify opportunities to possibility relocate some of our existing supportive housing services to sites that better meet the needs and desires as expressed by our existing tenants.
INVESTING IN OUR STAFF
summary of accomplishments
It is no surprise that Cota’s continued success is the direct result of the hard work and dedication of our staff and that they are truly our most valuable asset. As such, we want to continue to do whatever we can to ensure that we equip our staff with the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform their various roles as efficiently and effectively as possible and at the highest standard of quality. Ultimately, our goal is for everyone at Cota to have a wonderful experience while they are here and to be able to honestly say that Cota is a great place to work.
In 2017, we enlisted the support of AON Hewitt to conduct an internal survey to gauge how we are doing on this front. The survey gathers feedback relating to staff satisfaction across a number of areas and rolls up the results into an overall engagement score. While we are happy to report that this initial baseline survey resulted in Cota having an overall engagement score higher than the national average, we also looked at and identified areas for improvement. As such we subsequently created a work plan to address these lower-ranking areas.
For example, many of the activities listed below in the ‘Looking Back section’ have been implemented as a result of the feedback that we received.
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improved connectivity of mobile service providers
Improved the connectivity of mobile service providers by upgrading hardware to iPhones and increasing data plans
revitalized staff recognition initiatives
Revitalized our staff recognition and wellness activities though initiatives such as: “You’re a Superstar,” Values Awards, Service Awards, & “Breakfast with Bruce” outings.
established a satellite office in the east end
Established a satellite office in the east area of the city to ensure to reduce travel time for service providers.
launched new cloud-based intranet system
Introduced a new intranet platform to enhance internal connectivity and communication
increased group health benefits from 70 to 75 years
Improved group health benefits coverage for staff at no additional cost
72% of clinical staff trained
Invested in designing and implementing an enhanced staff training curriculum for staff
created a workplan based on staff feedback
Conducted an internal Engagement Survey via AON Hewitt and developed a work plan in relation to identified areas for improvement
Reducing Barriers to Efficiency:
We’re reorganizing our existing At Home ACT team service by introducing a second interdisciplinary team, as a result of a recent supportive housing expansion initiative. When this happens, Cota will provide city-wide Housing First Assertive Community Treatment services to individuals living with mental health challenges who are homeless, and involved with the justice system. Each team will cover half of the City of Toronto. This will allow the teams to be more efficient in delivering supports to individuals within their respective geographic areas and enable inter-team transfers to occur, as people move from one area of the city to another.
These two teams will be then be referred to as Cota’s Assertive Housing First Teams.
Improving Care via Digital Health Solutions:
Cota plans to go live with ONE Mail in 2019 and explore the possible adoption and implementation of other digital health solutions with colleague organizations within the emerging Ontario Health Teams, with a view to enabling ease of communication and reducing duplication of data entry across health service providers.
Supporting our Staff to Prepare for Retirement:
Cota will be exploring the possibility of adopting a defined pension plan for our employees, within existing resources, to assist them in preparing for and enhancing their financial stability in retirement.
summary of accomplishments
Cota is very proud of our impact to date in driving necessary system transformation. We are eager to continue to add our valuable experience and expertise in the ever evolving health and social service systems in order to ensure that, collectively, those systems can improve service delivery to people in need within our community.
As an example, the health system in Ontario is undergoing a monumental transformation, lead by the introduction of Ontario Health and the formation of local service delivery systems, referred to as Ontario Health Teams (OHTs), across the province and within Toronto. Given the regional city-wide scope of our services, we are actively involved with multiple emerging OHTs across the city of Toronto and look forward to inspiring positive change through our continued involvement.
In addition, Toronto Community Housing has recognized the need to transform their operations and enlist the support of service providers such as Cota to help meet the needs of their vulnerable tenant populations.
The City of Toronto is facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. We believe that access to housing is a fundamental human right, a critical social determinant of health and that, if someone does experience an unfortunate episode of homelessness, it should be brief and non-reoccurring.
480+ tchc tenants served
Expanded our support to tenants of Toronto Community Housing via our involvement in the Community Paramedic Led Clinic and Lawrence East Partnership programs in Scarborough
280+ tay clients supported
Assumed an enhanced administrative and oversight role from MCCSS in relation to our Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program
130+ individuals served by cota’s abi bt services
Contracted by TC LHIN to assume the responsibility of providing a city-wide ABI Behavioural Therapy Service previously delivered by TC LHIN Home and Community Care
supported toronto alliance to end homelessness (TAEH) efforts
Acted as the Trustee/Host organization for the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH), assumed a Steering Committee role and have been actively contributing to various TAEH work groups and initiatives
930+ individuals served
Working collaboratively with hospitals to ensure clients receive the right service at the right time in the right place through:
our Access to Resources and Community Supports (ARCS) program, a mental health and addictions emergency department diversion service, offered at Humber River Hospital and North York General Hospital
our stepped-care arrangement between St. Joseph’s Assertive Community Treatment Team and Cota’s Toronto West Integrated Service Team
Playing our Role in Health System Transformation:
As Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) progress through their developmental stages and reach full maturity, Cota will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the health care system to bridge the gaps, create efficiencies through integrated services and ultimately affect change.
Collaboratively Working with Toronto Community Housing:
We remain committed to supporting Toronto Community Housing as they seek to align supports for their vulnerable tenant populations. We have been working closely with them to discuss their needs and to identify new opportunities to offer our assistance. We remain hopeful that we will be able to implement additional services to TCH tenant groups in the near future.
Ending Chronic Homelessness in Toronto:
We remain dedicated in contributing to the efforts of the TAEH and in creating the necessary system reform required to effectively end chronic homelessness that far too many people in our city experience. This is a complex issue that requires a collective impact approach to address effectively. With over 100 participating organizations/supporters and a formal relationship with the City of Toronto, TAEH is well positioned to influence and affect the changes that are needed.
summary of accomplishments
Cota is an organization that has been operating for over 45 years. Thus far, our primary focus has been on the provision of excellent service to the people we support and where we quietly spent our time and energy. A focus we will never abandon!
Three years ago, however, we broke the silence and began sharing our story externally.
We know we offer services to the highest possible standard and do great work every day.
We simply want you to know as well.
To date we have engaged with an online community, got loud with national awareness movements, and have begun to develop a broader network of supporters and followers.
Moving forward, as we continue to expand the scale and scope of our ambitions, we are committed to developing new and innovative service solutions in collaboration with our partners. We also recognize that we will need to rely more and more on the generosity of the general public as we step up our efforts to inspire positive change in the lives of the people we support.
We hope that you will consider supporting us in the next chapter of our journey.
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hosted first inspiring change awards event in 2018
Celebrated our 45th anniversary and issued our first ever Inspiring Change Awards in 2018
22k+ unique people reached
Effectively adopted an across-digital platforms approach to convey the impact that Cota is having on the lives of the people we support and developments within the organization
awarded a 98.8% accreditation score
Awarded “Accredited with Exemplary Standing” by Accreditation Canada in 2018 (the highest calibre of accreditation status)
Committing to an Ongoing Pursuit of Quality:
While Cota was thrilled to be awarded Accredited with Exemplary Standing, the highest calibre of accreditation status awarded by Accreditation Canada, we view the accreditation process as a continuous quality improvement journey. As such, we plan to stay abreast of emerging best practices and standards of excellence and continue to challenge ourselves to excel in our service delivery and day to day operations.
Engaging our Online Following through a Digital Strategy:
We have made great strides in building awareness about Cota and the positive impact that we are having in the lives of the people we serve and across the service delivery systems in which we operate. We look forward to continuing this momentum into the future as we expand the audience of people who follow developments at Cota and capture the imaginations and hearts of those who may be willing to support us as we press forward in inspiring change.
Be a Part of our Success by Supporting Our Journey:
Cota is heading in an exciting direction and having support from all of you will aid us in accomplishing our (1) strategic goals, (2) affordable housing acquisition and (3) developments and projects. Your dedication, whether it be in the form of a one-time gift, a reoccurring donation, or corporate sponsorship, is absolutely invaluable. Join us as we blaze our way forward and inspire change!
board of directors
Dr. Paul Benassi
chief executive officer
senior director, clinical operations & quality improvement
director, finance and administration
director, people + culture
director, developmental & abi services
Paul Van de Laar
Cota’s accomplishments are often the result of formal partnerships and successful collaborations that we have with other organizations. Some of Cota’s key collaborations in fiscal year 2018-2019 involved the following partner organizations:
Good Sheppard Non-Profit Homes Toronto
Hong Fook Mental Health Association
Humber River Hospital
John Howard Society of Toronto
North York General Hospital
Parkdale Community Health Centre
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities
St. Joseph’s Health Centre
St. Michael’s Hospital
Surrey Place Centre
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Toronto North Support Services
Toronto Paramedic Services
Toronto Public Health
Toronto Public Library
VHA Home HealthCare
Vita Community Living Services
West Park Healthcare Centre